UOP’s BNC Tech Forum 2010 Summary

I’m always amazed at the energy, enthusiasm and knowledge at every BNC event. Last year, as I was entering the magical world of digital publishing, Tech Forum 2009 was an excellent introduction to the themes, ideas and big thinkers in the field. Tech Forum 2010 once again provided some really great take-home ideas, along with great speakers, new business models and exciting projects.

Richard Nash’s (Cursor Books) presentation Publishing 3.0 told us that publishers need to be in the business of managing demand, moving from the supply chain to the demand curve. It is our job to connect writer to reader. Publishers need to forget about ‘downloads’ and enhanced books are just another form of CD-ROMs.
UOP Take Home: “the absence of audio and video is a feature of the book”

Next up was Dominique Raccah (Sourcebook) and her presentation titled Breaking Ground. Dominique talked about her experiences being a digital entrepreneur while running a traditional book publishing company.
UOP Take Home: Define verticals; define the communities you are an essential part of.

I’ve seen several Michael Tamblyn presentations and they are always a treat. This time he discussed Lessons Learned at Kobo. Michael told us, much to our great relief, that long form reading on digital devices is alive and well. He also told us that there is a significant loss of sales with late ebook releases. For him, a great digital publisher provides digital sales and marketing information to vendors, provides pristine metadata, and provides well crafted epub files.
UOP Take Home: Release early, release often.

To my knowledge, Liza Daly (Threepress) is one of the only sources of epub production information out there. In her presentation Open Source ePub, Liza suggests using web kits for the creation and testing of epub files. She also suggested testing and previewing all files using Adobe, a big web kit (on a browser) and a small web kit (a mobile device)
UOP Take Home: Keep mark-up minimal and semantic. Spacing between header and body is presentational whereas spacing between a scene change is semantic.

In Trailblazing, Mark Lefebvre (Titles Bookstore, McMaster University) and Hugh McGuire (BookOven and LibriVox.org)discussed the Espresso Book Machine, which was particularly exciting and interesting. Hugh McGuire talked about Bite-Size Edits, a game where players get points for editing. They both discussed new ways to collaborate, communicate and participate with other publishers, readers and authors.
UOP Take Home: As publishers, we need to make sure we are doing everything possible to make it easier for our customers to discover, enjoy, and buy our books.

The last presentation of the day was: Has Content Outgrown its Covers? by Deanna McFadden of HaperCollins Canada. Deanna gave a great presentation about the importance of good online marketing and matching the right content to the right platform. She gave us a top ten list for online marketing that included suggestions such as: stop building static websites, use what is in your back pocket, ask authors if they want to participate in social marketing and find out where the visitors are coming from.
UOP Take Home: So far, Facebook hasn’t been that effective in selling books.

What does this all mean for UOP?
UOP is producing ebooks, both PDF and epub. We’re working with our distribution partners to determine the best way to get our books to our readers. We are excited by the opportunities and challenges that ebooks present and we’re eager to move forward. To our readers, take this as an open invitation to tell us what you want from your ebooks, the format, the vendors and the features -- we will listen, I promise! To our authors, let us know how you’d like to work together to best market your books to your readers, we are open to suggestion and looking forward to collaboration. To our colleagues, we are all in this together, lets continue to discuss and brainstorm, we are excited and I know you are too!

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